Across the "street" from my house is a golf course and beyond that is one of the highest hills in the county, Sugar Loaf Mountain (named such because it used to be a ski resort - hence the chair lift in the foreground). A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I, along with our six children, climbed to the top to take in the views during our "full color" season.
It was beautiful.
You can see for miles!
...Rolling hills blotted by an array of vivid colors.
...And the old ski resort in disrepair down below.
It is a great view...
I had just told her that I'd seen the picture that she posted on facebook of a shirt that she had purchased for my niece bearing the words "Everyone is Thankful for ME!" For most children, that statement could seem narsicistic, but not for Sweet Emily. For Emily, it's true!
Emily was born with Distal 18q- but her symptoms are not severe so she was not diagnosed until she was nearly two (her doctor was just dealing with each new symptom as it showed up).
I have never detected even a hint of bitterness in my sister-in-law. She simply had always had that question in the back of her mind and she voiced it! For two and a half years now, I have watched her handle the multitudes of doctor's appointments, surgeries, casts, leg braces and hearing aids with such grace. Emily is not coddled, so she has no idea that she has any limitations - she just takes everything in stride.
I knew just what to say.
"It's all a matter of perspective." I said.
I explained what I meant - that it's not that "some are blessed and some are not," we just have different types of blessings. Those of us who have "healthy" children have that one-dimentional blessing, but people who have "special needs" children have multi-dimensional blessings.
I reminded her of the things that she had just said about how amazed she is that her daughter is able to hear enough to speak and how she sits and watches her walk and thanks God that Emily is able to walk at all. I told her that the rest of us take those things for granted. It's not that we aren't thankful, we just don't have a reason to stand in awe about it, or to know that feeling of needing God on a day by day basis.
I pointed out that she was also a beneficiary of the "extra measure of grace" that God gives to us when we are in the midst of trials.
"These are all good things... If you choose to see it that way." I said.
Perspective is something that I believe that my mother cultivated in me. I remember that on several occasions she asked me to put myself in the other person's shoes and try to see how they might be feeling, or what they may have been thinking in the situation. This skill has come in handy all through my life.
It has made a difference in ministry, in my marriage, and in relationships.
Hurt feelings can be saved by using this wonderful tool called perspective (I know because I have done it both ways!) When I get caught up in my own selfishness, and see only my own point of view, then disaster... But when I take a few moments to consider what the other person might be thinking or feeling, I am able to empathize with them and keep my emotions in check. (That is why it is one of the best tools to use in marriage!)
Perspective also helps with circumstances.
How many times do we grudgingly endure difficult circumstances, hoping that they will soon pass and we can get on with an easier life?
Scripture tells us to correct our perspective in difficult times:
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1:2-4 NLT
Today, if you are struggling with a hard time in a relationship or a circumstance in your life, instead of changing where you are, trying turning around and seeing it a different way. It could change your life!